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(6.) The fixth and last Thing I mentioned as necessary towards reducing of our Saviour's Precepts into Practice, is Patience and Constancy. The observing of these Precepts is not the Work of a Day, or a Month, or a Year; but the work of our whole Life. It is terrible to think how many have begun in the Spirit, and ended in the Flesh; how several, who have had the best Opportunities for Company and Education (as Judas in Christ's own Family) have proved much worse than others that had no such Advantages. We must then gird up the Loins of our Minds, and set ourselves fo much more steadily to the running of our Christian Course, as we see the Day approaching; as Runners in a long Race, reserve most of their Strength and Courage to the last; fo we must never reckon our Work done, till we have finished our whole Course we have to run in this world. There is no Man so perfect in his Duty, but that he has still some Corruption to mortify, some more Grace to acquire, fome Talents to improve, fome Duties to learn more perfectly, and his Peace with God to make more secure, at least to clear up the Evidence and Assurance of it more plainly, and therefore we have no Reason to be slothful, but to be Followers of them who through Faith and Patience inberit the Promises, Heb. vi. 12.
So much for the plain Description here given of a good Christian, as he is one that heareth and doeth these Sayings of our Saviour's. I find Time will not serve to consider his Success, how his Labours shall stand firm both against all Trials here, and the great Trial in the Day of Judg
ment hereafter : and therefore I must refer it, together with the Description and Unsuccessfulness of a bad Christian, to another Opportunity. I have briefly recommended to you several Chriftian Duties of great Importance, namely, as to Hearing, a Diligence to use the Means and Opportunities, Attention, Faith, Confideration, Meditation, Conference, especially Instruction of your Children, Commemoration in the holy Sacrament, and, above all, frequent Practice; then as to the practical Part, holy Resolutions, Christian Vigilance, fervent Prayer for Grace, Repentance after Lapses, Courage against bad Examples, and Patience and Perseverance to the end. God of his infinite Mercy grant, that we may conscientiously practise these Things, and daily grow in 'Grace, and in the Knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ, To him with the Fa. ther, &c.
SE R M ON XXII.
MA T. VII. 24.
Therefore whosoever heareth these Sayings of mine,
and doeth them, I will liken him unto a wife
Man, which built bis House upon a Rock : V. 25. And the Rain descended, and the Floods
came, and the Winds blew, and beat upon that House : and it fell not, for it was founded
upon a Rock. V. 26. And every one that beareth these Sayings
of mine, and doeth them not, fall be likened unto a foolish Man, wbich built bis House upon the Sand.
And the Rain descended, and the Floods came, and the Winds blew, and beat upon that House : and it fell
, and great was the Fall
The Third Sermon on this Text.
T to spend your Time in repeating or
recapitulating what in two former Difcourses I have obferved from these Words : The last Observation I made from them was, That we have here a short Description both of a good and of a bad Chriftian ; with the Success of the Labours of the one, and the Unsuccessfulness of
the Labours of the other. I began, as my Text doth, with the Description of the good Christian, which is, that he is one that both beareth, that is, learneth, and doeth these Sayings of our Saviour's
. And having dispatched that at the last Occalon;
The next thing the Text requires us to consider is, The good Success of his Labours, in these Words; I will liken him unto a wise Man, which built his House upon a Rock; and the Rain defcended, and the Floods came, and the Winds blew, and beat upon that House : and it fell not, for it was founded upon a Rock. In which Words I shall briefly consider these five Things:
1. In general, the Comparison between the Fabrick of Religion, and the Fabrick of an House.
2. The Comparison between a lively Faith in Christ, and the laying a good solid Foundation for building upon.
3. The Superstructure of a fair Building, or a good Life, which made an handsome Shew; but in fair Weather could not well be distinguished from the Religion of an Hypocrite ; they made each of them so good an Appear
4. The Proof of the Excellency and Solidity of bis Religion, beyond that of the Hypocrite, in that it stood firm against all Shocks and Trials.
5. The Consequence of this, that his Religion served him not only for his present temporary Ends, but like a good well built durable House, answered the Ends of a lasting Habitation,
I. We are in general to consider the Comparison between the Fabrick of Religion, and the Fabrick of an House. As building a great House is one of the greatest Designs Men commonly undertake, a Design which ought to be well" laid, and the Expence of it to be well considered, before it is gone about; a Work which requires a skilful Master-Builder or Architect, and good Artists under him of all sorts ; a Work, which requires a great Preparation of good Materials, and a mighty Diligence to carry it on; a Work, which must not be done by halves; for if it remains unfinished, it is only a lasting Monument of the Folly and Inability of the Undertaker ; but turn's to no manner of Account as to the Accommodation and Conveniencies defigned thereby; so it is with Religion, it is the greatest Defign a Man can set about, and fhould be the most serioully weighed and considered. "To go
thorow with it, it will put us to the Charge of every other Thing that is most dear and valuable ; a Design, in which, under God, the great Architect, there are abundance of Under-Labourers and Fellow-Workers with Christ; a Design, which of all other, requires the most intent Pains and Diligence, and Constancy, and Perseverance; and which, if we do not accomplish it, will be the most eternal Monument of our Shame and Folly ; but will answer nothing as to our eternal Accommodation and Felicity. But though all these might be usefully insisted on, yet because it seems not to be our Saviour's Design in this place to urge any more of this Simile, than what will fall in properly enough under